How Does It Work?
The collaborative process requires no court filings and enables parties to set shared rules regarding confidentiality, thus avoiding the bad publicity and loss of goodwill that often accompanies public litigation. The parties—not an arbitrator, judge, or jury—remain in control of the dispute and its resolution.
- Participation Agreement. The parties, each represented by collaboratively trained counsel, agree in writing to use the collaborative process as an exclusive means to resolve their dispute. The parties and their attorneys agree not to initiate or pursue litigation while in the collaborative process. In fact, the collaborative lawyers may not represent either party in litigation related to the matters addressed in the collaborative process.
- Exchange of Information. After meeting separately with counsel, the parties and counsel meet as a collaborative team to identify and exchange information needed to find a resolution.
- Identification of Interests. The collaborative team identifies shared goals and individual interests and explores resolution options.
- Generating Solutions. The collaborative team generates possible solutions to the shared problem.
- Evaluation and Selection of Proposals. After the team generates as many options as possible, the team meets to evaluate and select a proposal. The selected proposal must meet all parties' needs.
- Settlement Agreement. The parties sign a written, enforceable settlement agreement.